The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is a 5-mile (8 km) long heritage railway line in West Yorkshire, England, that runs from Keighley to Oxenhope. It connects to the national rail network line at Keighley railway station. It is currently the only heritage railway that operates a whole branch line in its original form.
The line was built in 1867 by local mill owners, but operated by the Midland Railway, which owned most of the rail network in the area, and was eventually bought by the Midland in part due to interest from the rival railway company at Keighley, the Great Northern. The Mill owners made a profit, which was abnormal for most lines of that type, as (for strategic reasons) the Midland wanted to prevent the GN from taking over its territory. After falling to the London, Midland and Scottish Railway in 1923 during the Grouping Act, ownership passed to British Railways following nationalisation in 1948. As a part of the rail cutbacks in the 1960s, British Railways closed the line at the end of 1962. However a preservation society was formed which bought the line from BR and reopened it in 1968 as a heritage railway. The line is now a major tourist attraction operated entirely by volunteers and carries more than 110,000 passengers every year. The KWVR is currently the only preserved railway that operates a complete branch line in its original form. It is celebrated among beer lovers for operating the only buffet car serving real ale.
The line and its bridges and tunnels including a deviation were built as single track but with provision for duplication, should the need arise. The deviation was built as a condition of the buy out of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway by the Midland Railway. The need for the deviation was to avoid a large wooden trestle viaduct that crossed a mill pond, as the locals believed the viaduct was unsafe, and supposedly many alighted at Oakworth and continued on foot to Haworth to avoid crossing the viaduct. The original design for the deviation was to skirt the mill pond then through a cutting to rejoin the original formation. However during construction the material in the cutting proved to be unstable, resulting in the construction of the short Mytholmes Tunnel. The original trestle viaduct can be seen in a picture hanging above the fire in the booking hall of Oakworth station.
The line and its stations have been used in numerous period film and television productions including films The Railway Children and Yanks and in an episode of the longest running sitcom Last of the Summer Wine in 1979.